About found war items

In today's Latvia, the collections of various museums are supplemented by the personal collections of private individuals, which are often exhibited in public and are accessible to everyone. Many people's hobbies are ancient things, including items related to military history. Visitors often do not have an idea of the origin of these things. They suddenly appeared? In all cases, it's several years of work and an interesting, personal story about one person's interests in putting things together to make a museum out of them, for example. The narrator describes his personal experience, giving the reader an idea of the situation in Latvia after World War II. The legacy of various armies and the lack of raw materials on the farm are forcing people to find creative ways to use virtually anything to survive. Over time, the useless on the farm become valuable, historical exhibits that tell about the experience of Latvia and its people.

"As far as I know, after the war, only light artillery was thrown around us and a machine gun was used. The Russian 45mm anti-tank gun with the lock removed in the roadside bushes was until 1960 or a little longer. Also, "Maksis" (machine gunner of the K.Š. Maksima system) stood in the bushes of the lake, I saw it as a child, the pioneers pulled it to scrap. There was another one, one uncle collected it and buried it somewhere near the house. A classmate with his godfather unsuccessfully searched for "MG" (a German machine gunner meant by K.Š.), which his godfather had buried 40 years ago. After amelioration, the situation has changed.

I know there was a pond near the house where the Russian hospital was located. The ponds threw up the wounded and dead. After drainage, the pond was filled and the houses were demolished. The place in life is no longer found.

After the summer battles at Steķi, they collected a truckload of fallen "plinths" (K.Š. Armed Weapons) and took them to Jēkabpils. The car did not reach the end point, it disappeared together with the driver and the Czech lieutenant who was driving with him. Until the 1990s, militiamen and Czechs tried to find out if anyone had heard of the case. Around 1995, I learned that the engine of that car might be parked in some homes. Unfortunately, it was heavy and the nearest museum was not interested in buying it back. Scrap collectors bought their engine from Aunt for 10 lats. All the witnesses died without telling anyone.

The planes that crashed during the war were scrapped by the Germans. Also the cannons abandoned by the Russians in 1941. I have heard that one such digger found such pieces of “bunches” (K.Š. Supposed gun) with a metal detector. Some pieces of German tank "T-4" could still be tossed along the drainage ditches on my side. Russian IL-2 (K.Š. Red Army assault plane) was shot by the Germans after a successful battle with four “T-34” (K.Š. Red Army tank) and two “SU-76” (K.Š. Red Army self-propelled aircraft) ). I have still seen some large irons from that battle tossing in the surrounding farmsteads. Mostly everything is scrapped. The "T-34" without a tower still stands under one road today. The place was swampy, the tower was torn down, dragged to the collective farm workshops, and the bottom was covered with gravel when the road was repaired. Great cleavable axes have emerged from the armor of the tower. I bought one from local scrap buyers.

The warplanes and tanks that had been tossing in for a long time after the war had already been removed by the kolkhoz scrap collectors in my time. Only pieces of duralumin tin were used by the locals as apprentices. The classmate's grandfather, for example, had made window shutters. I bought it back from a classmate later with a cross.

The blacksmith collected all the iron, it was a matter of money for him, and he cut everything into a useful household thing. The man died without using up all the supplies. Various tank wheels, pieces of chains and armor also remained standing. The same was true of soldiers' helmets - the inserts were torn (the internal shock absorber insert of the helmets was meant) and used on the farm. Using a metal detector to search the site of the former barn where German prisoners of war were held during the war, a local found various awards from the German army.

The locals told me that when there was no electricity in the school after the war, the children's fathers decided to settle the case. They dug up the engine of a German army car that had been buried during the war and later served the school. During the war, one of the fathers threw steel spikes on the road and a German truck ran into it. All the tires went through and the "freaks" left the diaper on the side of the road. At night, the engine was removed and buried. Then, after several years, he was put to work and turned on the generator for seven years at school. Nowadays, people are ready to buy all these things, but in the past it all rushed around the houses, forests and roadsides of the neighborhood like unnecessary junk. It had only practical value - an object that could be redesigned, improved and used on the farm. ”

Storyteller: Novadpētnieks Oļģerts Stalidzāns; Wrote down this story: Kaspars Špēlis

Related objects

Cafe “Dakota” and exposition of military vehicles and equipment

Atrodas Ogres novadā, Ciemupē,  autoceļa A6 malā.

Kafejnīca „Dakota” ir piemērs, kad tiek apvienots vaļasprieks un interese par militāro vēsturi ar uzņēmējdarbību, izveidojot sabiedriskās ēdināšanas vietu.

1. pasaules karš ļoti būtiski ietekmēja Latvijas zemi un tās iedzīvotājus. Latvija tiek tēlaini salīdzināta ar Beļģiju, jo abas valstis karā tika izpostītas. Liela daļa mākslas un kultūras vērtību diemžēl ir zudušas. Pēc 1. pasaules kara sekoja Neatkarības karš, 2. pasaules karš un Padomju okupācijas režīma vērienīgā militarizācija. Karadarbības un dažādu armiju klātbūtnes rezultātā saglabājās kara vēstures liecības, kas kļuvušas par muzeju vai privātkolekciju sastāvdaļu.

Mūsdienās šeit var atpūsties, nobaudīt maltīti un aplūkot ieroču, karavīru ekipējuma un tehnikas kolekciju. 

Ekspozīcija pieejama kafejnīcas apmeklētājiem kafejnīcas darba laikā. Ekskursijas pieejamas tikai krievu valodā, nepieciešama iepriekšēja pieteikšanās.

Kurzeme fortress museum in Zante

The museum exposition helps obtaining an idea of the progress of the World War II in the Kurzeme Fortress and about the fates of the soldiers. At the museum, the guests can see also a historical exhibition of the World War I and II including a collection of items of local history and military nature, an exposition "Latvian army 1918 - 1945", AN-2 airplane, armoured personal carrier, and a Red Army tank. Restored entrenchments and bunker of those times are open for the visitors to explore.